Bruce Farrell Rosen
Author of books and articles, retired portfolio manager

Israel, Iran, the United States and Russia: The World Is in a Deep Quagmire

The only thing symbolic about Iran’s potentially deadly aerial  attack upon the land of Israel on April 13, is that it occurred virtually six months from the  kidnapping, torture, be-heading, blood thirsty and diabolical rape and murder of more than 1200 Israeli’s on October 7.  Yes, there is  symbolism in the fact that this attack occurred almost six months to the day of the worst massacre of Jewish people since the Nazi Holocaust.  The symbolism resides in the notion that this terror wherein approximately 300 deadly projectiles launched from Iran–about half of them sophisticated Cruise and Ballistic missiles–was intended to terrorize an already deeply traumatized Israeli population.  And in terrorizing this population at a time of such Israeli vulnerability–mass protests against the government of Netanyahu, global condemnation of Israel’s prosecution of the war in Gaza, the desperate plea to find the remaining hostages taken as dehumanized bargaining chips by Hamas — Iran likely hoped that the Israeli government would agree to a cease fire that would become a kind of detente whereby Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Iran funded extremist groups would continue to  thrive and become part of the political solution in the global demand for a Palestinian state.

However, make no mistake that this attack was far more than symbolic.  In the absence of the layers of defense brilliantly implemented primarily by Israel and the United States, there likely would have been hundreds of deaths of civilians, and many more than that suffering horrible injuries as a result of corroded metal falling on homes, exploding on towns, maiming and mauling people in cars, busses, bicycles, killing as people walked, jogged, lived and breathed.

Yes, there was the symbolism of terrorism in this attack–the intention to terrorize a country into submission, and there was also the same kind of intent that launched Hamas on October 7–the intent to murder innocents.

If the attack upon Israel by Iran was meant as retaliation for the alleged Israeli attack on the Iran compound in Damascus that killed several commanders from it’s Revolutionary Guard Corps then this retaliation was a severely disproportionate response.  And, as stated, it was symbolic, but it was far more than that: it was an invitation to the kind of Israeli retaliation upon Iran’s soil that the people of Iran would certainly not want, and would likely dread.  And at the moment if one is an Iranian civilian, just wanting to live a peaceful life free of hate, they have something to fear. They legitimately must fear that Israel has the right to respond to this unprecedented attack directly upon the land of Iran.

Up to this point, Iran has clearly let their money do the talking for them: they have given hundreds of millions of dollars to groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah and others to be their surrogates in destabilizing the region, standing in the way of any peace agreement that would allow other Arab actors to have more influence in the region than themselves.  There is nothing in the hundreds of miles of tunnels built by Hamas in Gaza–the hundreds of millions of dollars of Iranian money spent to build them that might have gone to building a healthcare, educational, economic infrastructure that produces a standard of living that promotes friendship, well being and security–that speaks to the need for a homeland for Palestinians.  And there is nothing in the hundreds of millions of dollars provided by Iran to Hezbollah that speaks to any kind of cooperation with Israel that would result in consultations and negotiations toward a Palestinian Homeland.  In short, there is nothing that Iran wants more than the annihilation of Israel and they are willing to go 1000 years if it takes that long to bring this into being.  They certainly must know that their efforts will bring only destruction upon themselves in the short term–that Israel will exist at all costs to Iran–and thus there must be a limitation to how far they are willing to challenge the survival of Israel.

So Iran will play the short game, which to them could last ten, twenty, fifty years with the ultimate goal of succeeding in a conflagration that re-establishes their rule as an ancestral power in the Middle East, the result of a holy war that lasts as long as it takes.

And so how does Israel respond to this threat to their existence ?  And how does America respond to this threat to Israel’s existence and its own domestic political instability–an instability that like the rest of the world is seeing more and more antisemitism, anti-Zionism that threatens to undermine support for this blood brother surrounded by so much hate in the region.

Israel’s expansion of settlements in the West Bank has maintained Netanyahu’s power in the Knesset, given the support from the right wing settlers and their allies, but it has led to the break down of moderate Palestinian representation and the emergence and continued influence of Iran.  This settlement expansion has to stop.  It is a terrible stain on the Israeli people, so many of them not wanting this expansion, so many of them feeling for the people being displaced by this.

Israel wants peace.  They have always wanted to live in peace.  Various Prime Ministers of Israel have felt they were close to peace, willing to make the compromises that brings a homeland to the Palestinian people desperate and longing for a national identity.  So many times since the founding of Israel,  especially during the presidential terms of Jimmy Carter and  Bill Clinton, it appeared that the foundation for a second state was at hand, only to be sabotaged by forces that only wanted instability and not peace.  Israel gave up Gaza for peace.  And Gaza became a staging ground for October 7–a murderous enterprise that was never intended to bring the world closer to creating Statehood for the Palestinian people.  It was a rampage that at its core was a fund raising event for Hamas–more money on its way from Iran to further sabotage peace, promote instability.   Of course Israel would retaliate for this, and of course the people of Gaza would pay the price as human shields–Iran knew this, Hamas knew this, and PUTIN KNEW THIS!

October 7 doesn’t happen without the foreknowledge of Putin.  He provides the cyber warfare capabilities for Iran and its surrogates, and they provide the drones for Ukraine.  And April 13, does not happen without the knowledge of Putin– the increase of prestige that Iran gains from its attack only serves to further Russia’s aims in Ukraine,  and also provides it with a credible ally in its own quest for power and influence the Middle East.  It is a quest for influence that Russia has had ever since the demise of the PLO.

So what does Israel do in this situation ? Do they retaliate against Iran ? Yes, they must retaliate against Iran.  A status quo ante of deterrence has been violated, and Israel must re-establish this deterrence on a higher level.  It simply must do this because not doing it does not buy Israel security–it will only promote further aggression by Iran and its surrogates.  Israel must strike Iran in places where they create their war making capability.  And it should not be off limits to attack their ability to make nuclear war heads.  Is there a greater threat to global security and the survival of the planet at the moment than Iran ? I think not.  I think they must be stopped.  They have to know the kind of retaliation that will make them think about the survival of their regime.

Will this bring a global conflagration ? I would argue that appeasement of Iran is a greater threat to global security than not retaliating.  It is a quagmire, and what is the way out ?  I agree that violence begets violence.  The horror of Gaza is incomprehensible.  But we can thank Iran for so much of that!  There is enormous blame for what is happening in Gaza, and much of the  world–including the UN and its inability to condemn Hamas for its October 7 attack–is complicit in this tragedy.

The Biden administration has stated in the aftermath of April 13 that its commitment to Israel’s security is ‘Iron Clad’.  And this is a sentiment shared by its partners in the G-7.  This is good to know.  In much the same way that the world felt deep compassion for Israel after October 7,-which quickly turned into a virulent cocktail of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism during the invasion of Gaza–it also feels sympathy and empathy for the people of Israel that have been terrorized by this aerial attack.  Will this feeling last if Israel retaliates against Iran ? It may, and it will depend on the retaliation and its aftermath.

President Biden has characterized Israel’s defense against this aerial bombardment a significant victory for Israel.  And of course President Biden is correct.  It is incredible how well Israel and the United States defended the sky.  It is a defense that might show Iran that it is futile to keep this up, because Israel will continue to defend itself by knocking out these missiles. However, perhaps this line of thinking from Israel’s point of view is a bit naive.  Iran has learned a lot in this October 13 attack.  They have learned the effectiveness and lack of effectiveness of their targeting.  Will the next attempt land on a city ? Kill thousands of people ? Is defense the best offense ?  Israel cannot take that chance.  And they certainly have to worry now about one of these missiles one day carrying a strategic nuclear war head.

President Biden is a staunch supporter of Israel and feels for its people, its desire to survive, its commitment to democracy.  But the President is in the fight for his political life.  If the left wing progressives that have identified Hamas as freedom fighters for the Palestinians do not vote for him, he may very likely lose the election to Trump.  These people legitimately care for the survival of the Palestinian people, and they have compassion for their plight in Israel.  They just do not realize that they are elevating Hamas to some status of heroic freedom fighters,  and elevating them to some moral high ground.  It is a deep quagmire in every way for President Biden.  He is a wise leader that understands the angle from many sides.  And he does not want to be the President upon whose watch a nuclear weapon was used or that he was unable to stop what might be considered a World War 3.

Neville Chamberlain did not want World War 2, and so he did not draw the line with Hitler in Sudetenland.  His acquiescence certainly emboldened Hitler to go further in domination of Europe.

The world is at a tipping point at this very moment.  It could go any number of ways.  Freedom and democracy is under assault, even in the United States–particularly in the United States one might argue.  President Biden is trying to save the country from  the kind of revenge and fascist populism threatened by Trump.

Israel is at the forefront of what Biden can do and what he cannot do.  And he has to find a middle ground to perhaps save the world and save his Presidency.

Yes, it is a deep quagmire, and so much depends on Israel.


Bruce Farrell Rosen

San Francisco

About the Author
My understanding of politics, economics, geopolitics, political theory is grounded in my undergraduate and graduate study of philosophy and international relations. I recently retired from managing investment portfolios for over Forty Years. I have also always been a writer, and have published two books of non-fiction: Bombed In His Bed, the Confessions of Jewish Gangster Myer Rush', and " If you Ever Need Me, I Won't Be far Away". I have done television and radio for these books. I have authored numerous articles on various subjects, such as international affairs, politics, economics, culture, music, sport for various newspapers, magazines and journals. I live in San Francisco California.
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